Dreama Tolle Perry » Artist and Writer

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Taking the Plunge in Watercolor!

PAINT ONLINE with Dreama! Learn More>>>


Some folks consider watercolors hard. Things run and go in unexpected places. Colors mingle in unexpected ways on moist paper. “Mistakes” can’t be readily erased.

Watercolors ARE like life—full of things we didn’t necessarily plan on AND things we sometimes have to learn to live with and then learn to LOVE!

That is exactly why they are perfect for making journals and postcards reflecting the moments of our lives 🙂

My simple approach for making watercolor postcards and journaling is to do my drawing first, then color it— and once it’s completely dry, go back in with my pen and strengthen/darken any passages or lines that need it.

Here are some things to remember on your way to watercoloring:

  • Whitespace is a thing of beauty—just like in life. Not placing color on every square inch of your paper leaves some places for things to sparkle—just like the sunlight! Your white paper is your “white paint” so you always want to save some light!
  • Just a like a rumor in a clique of high school girls, wherever the paper is wet you can bet things are going to spread
    Color brushed onto wetted paper = color traveling everywhere.
  • Even when a paper appears dry, it may be damp enough for colors to not stay put which can cause color to feather out. Paper that feels “cool” to the top of your index finger still has moisture in it, so if you want that color to stay exactly in its place, let the paper dry until it feels the same temp as areas that have not been wetted at all before applying color.


  • This is your chance to color outside the lines!! I love doing my drawing first, then “splashing” the color in letting it go outside the lines on purpose. The line drawing of the tree already tells me what it is, so the color can meander out and ad some character without effecting the story you are telling.
  • Clean water (like a clean house) is next to godliness (okay, I heard that one growing up so you can disregard…) but for clean watercolors, rinsing your brush frequently in clean water does the trick.
  • Like things that are soft? For soft edges, wet a large area of your paper, then drop color into places you choose.
  • Want edges like your lettuce, crisp? Paint onto dry paper—wherever your brush touches down, you will have a very crisp edge.
  • Rule of thumb for painting values in watercolor? Work light to dark. Lightest areas first, middle values next, darkest areas last. The reason? Dark passages painted too early are like little mine fields waiting to explode if you touch your wet brush up against them:))

Anything can and should be part of your watercoloring when traveling or while making like a tourist in your hometown 😉

  • your dessert for the day
  • a road sign
  • a fellow traveler
  • a flower local to this area
  • your art supplies (your pen, your brush, your watercolor box)
  • your bed
  • your opened suitcase (or in my case, my EXPLODING suitcase:)
  • a spider web in the garden
  • hand-drawn maps of where you’ve been
  • use some French words or lines from French songs in your drawings (or wherever you might be that this applies)
  • airline tickets, travel itineraries
  • your shoes brush
  • strokes of the colors used in your journal with the names

Then….when we are out and about in the villages…

  • bicycles
  • street lamps
  • cats (don’t tell Eddie)
  • dogs
  • benches
  • shop windows
  • flower boxes
  • fountains
  • statues
  • cafes
  • signage of all sorts
  • markets
  • doorways
  • little old men
  • little old women
  • little tiny cars
  • wonderful old buildings



Just for Fun!
I came across these fun sparkly colors that bring out the kid in me for journaling:))

Twinkling H2O’s

  • Love Struck
  • Pretty Peridot
  • Boysenberry
  • Blue Bayou
  • Smokey Diamond (this one is black with sparkle!)
  • Sunflower
  • Ocean Wave
  • Blue Grass
  • Passion
  • Cranberry
  • Snapdragon
  • Forest Green
  • Periwinkle (of course!!)
  • Heavenly Bamboo
  • Moonbeams
  • Golden Nugget
  • Rain Forest
  • Gold Dust
  • Heavenly White

The link to purchase these is here.

The main thing to remember

Have JOY in the moment
JOY in awareness that your are here and now—

Life is Good!!

Click here to download a PDF of these tips that you can print out and carry along with you as you journal!

Click here to visit my Amazon store holding some of my favorite watercolor things!



I use watercolor for my journaling and work in oils for everything else.  If you’d like to know about my online classes in oil, just click here or go to DreamaTollePerry.com!

Paint with Dreama ONLINE! LEARN MORE>>>



  • priscilla hopkins - December 6, 2016 - 9:11 am

    Love everything you do. I can tell what a beautiful spirit you have just by looking at your art and way of life.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Payne Price - July 28, 2016 - 10:26 pm

    Your paintings make me HAPPY!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn Canfield - June 24, 2016 - 8:06 pm

    I wanted to sign up for Your classes, but I’m an oil painter. Will allot the classes be water color? I also thought they would start in September. Please let me know. Love your paintings.Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Tommie - May 10, 2016 - 9:26 am

    I love your posts…they lighten my heavy heart….you and your husband are a blessing to me…I hope to get back with you soon…thank you bothReplyCancel

  • Carol Balabanow - January 28, 2016 - 12:37 am

    Thank you so much for letting us share your trip this way! This gives a new definition to “armchair traveler.”ReplyCancel

  • Marlene Karpa - January 23, 2016 - 3:12 am

    So looking forward to Saturday morning Dreama with all your wonderful people who love to create art.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Grover, Artist - November 5, 2015 - 3:25 am

    Do you ever paint studies in watercolor to later paint in oil? Just wondering if you took both watercolors and oils to Italy and France. I am delighted to learn of Twinklings – what happy and playful colors!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Sullivan Blake - September 15, 2015 - 4:33 pm

    Thank you ! We go on holiday to Ireland in a few weeks and I hope to try my hand at watercolors while there..your information is indeed helpful and greatly appreciated !ReplyCancel

  • Jacque Chinnery - August 4, 2015 - 5:43 pm

    Someday I would love to take one of your workshops in Kentucky. I was born in Kentucky and, of course, it is my favorite state. (Sorry, Missouri!) I love your artwork and I know I could learn a lot from you. My biggest issue is budget…I live on Social Security. But I am forming an intention to sell enough of my own work to be able to travel to take your class! Thank you for all of your sharing and inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Montgomery - June 27, 2015 - 1:47 am

    Great suggestions. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • […] you decide to go with just your  journal and watercolors only, it is POSSIBLE to have one carry-on piece of luggage and one backpack for two whole weeks in Italy […]ReplyCancel

  • Cheri Plant - February 28, 2015 - 8:32 am

    I’m new to watercolor and completely pulled in. Loving your joy and inspiration .
    When will you be doing a workshop in California and where exactly? I’m trying to be positive if you have noticed. I didn’t ask IF you are you going to be in California. :- )


  • denise traynor - September 16, 2014 - 10:35 am

    Hi Drema,

    I just started watercolor and now sketch my bumble bees and add the watercolor. Very much a beginner— but if you ever hold a class on watercolor, sketching, I am there. Let me know – thank you! DeniseReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - July 8, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration. That’s what you provide. You’ve encouraged me to
    get back to teaching and creating. Thank you Dreama, you’re a gift sent from aboveReplyCancel

  • shawn passarieu - June 25, 2014 - 12:42 am

    Another beautiful day in France! Thank you for inspiring those of us stuck at home during summer vacation! Carry on!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Darius - June 23, 2014 - 2:10 am

    I figured it out, never mind – LOLReplyCancel

  • Sue Darius - June 22, 2014 - 6:48 pm


    How do I buy the twinkler minis that you selected for Italy from the website ? it looks like them come in a set of 24, but I don’t know how to choose the colours individually.ReplyCancel

  • Yvonne Schmidt - June 22, 2014 - 9:25 am

    Le Vieux Couuvent is my favorite retreat in the world!! (Been there twice). It’s a feast for the eyes, ears, and TASTE BUDS ! (Isn’t Corrine wonderful)! Thanks for posting snippits of your discoveries there. – very inspiring – just can’t get enough of those lovely French scenes.ReplyCancel

  • Carrol Chiles - June 17, 2014 - 4:20 pm

    Dreama, each time I see your post or run into your work online, your watercolors and oils look more and more beautiful, I enjoyed your work the first time I saw it a few years ago and I still see it as some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve ever seen. Look forward to your workshop this nov in Costa mesa. BlessingsReplyCancel

  • Nina Snyder - June 16, 2014 - 12:52 am

    Have a great time and I will be so enjoying the posts!

  • Terri Carswell Moore - June 15, 2014 - 12:14 am


  • Cathy Joerger - June 14, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    So happy to be able to join the trip via your postings. I lived in France for 12 years and this really inspires me …..ReplyCancel

  • Judy Martin - June 14, 2014 - 2:07 pm

    I am so sad not to be able to join your trip, so this makes me feel better that I can still be a part. I can be there if anyone cancels. xoReplyCancel

  • […] you decide to go with just your  journal and watercolors only, it is POSSIBLE to have one carry-on piece of luggage and one backpack for two whole weeks in Italy […]ReplyCancel

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